At American Airlines Investor and Media Day we learned that the airline had plans to roll out additional benefits for Main Cabin Extra seats that have more legroom than regular coach. The plan was to:
- copy Delta by offering beer, wine, and spirits to passengers in these seats starting ‘in the spring’
- also put a sign in overhead bins indicating they’re for Main Cabin Extra passengers only starting February 1 with a roll out lasting a few months. Other premium cabins will get similar signage.
Credit: American Airlines
Here’s the sign Delta puts in their domestic first class overhead bins that say they’re for first class passengers only. It’s not a perfect solution, but it helps discourage passengers from taking the forward bins while seated farther back.
Unlike Delta there won’t be a complimentary snack for Main Cabin Extra passengers besides the same pretzels or cookies given to economy passengers.
American’s Executive Platinum and ConciergeKey members of course already receive both a free drink and a free snack when seated in economy and this doesn’t change.
Meanwhile don’t expect too much out of the overhead bin signs. The Forward Cabin shares the flight attendant memo about the change which emphasizes “Flight attendants are not responsible for monitoring MCE overhead bins.” Heaven knows that American wouldn’t want to upset the front line by asking them to offer additional service. They have a hard enough time getting flight attendants in first class to offer predeparture beverages or greet customers by name.
And there may be a dark side for frequent flyers in what should otherwise be a product improvement.
- As America nudges closer to what Delta does that they too will treat extra legroom seats as ‘upgrades’.
- A year and a half ago then-airline President Scott Kirby said that domestic premium economy would be coming. He called it “a separate cabin” and “that it will have an impact on the frequent flyer program” so they’d “need to tell our frequent flyers in advance how it impacts the frequent flyer program.”
An American spokesperson tells me, “When it launches in the spring there will be no impact on the frequent flyer program. We will of course give an advance notice of any changes or impacts this will have on our elites.”